Remember water safety as you continue having fun in the sun

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Everyone loves a little fun in the sun. Going swimming at the local "swimming hole" can be the most refreshing thing on a blistering hot day. 

However, with just a few weeks left in the 101 Critical Days of Summer one should always be aware of the dangers that can occur and what you can do to prevent them.

Some water activities include swimming, boating, personal watercraft, and water sports.
The best thing any individual can do to stay safe in or around water is to learn how to swim. Learning how to swim is as easy as pie and can be done in a few simple lessons. Lessons in the Goodfellow area are provided by the Outdoor Recreation Office.
For more information, please call 654-5562. 

While in or around water all inexperienced swimmers should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. You can find a wide array of PFDs at any local sporting goods store. 

One should always be aware of the environment in which they are performing the activity. Paying attention to deep and shallow areas, currents, availability of lifeguard personnel and local weather conditions can make a difference in you and your family's safety.

Whether you're swimming, boating or jet skiing, always remember that water activities and alcohol don't mix. Use of alcohol can impair judgment, balance and coordination. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were a reported 3,308 unintentional drowning deaths in the United States in 2004, of which 25 to 50 percent were a result of alcohol usage. That's not to mention the other 676 individuals who died of boat-related accidents. It cannot be stressed enough: if you mix alcohol and water activities you stand a great chance of getting you, your loved ones or possibly your friends injured or killed. 

Whether in the pool, lake or beach, everyone needs to get out and enjoy this time of year. However, to everyone's safety, please do all that you can do to prepare for whatever situation might occur. Be careful, mindful and safe. (Some article information utilized from www.redcross.org and www.cdc.gov)